A more detailed scheme, first detailed in a report by The Athletic in November, began two months into the 2017 season by Mr. Cora and several players, including Carlos Beltran, who was hired this off-season as the Mets’ manager. Mr. Cora arranged for a monitor displaying the center-field camera footage to be installed next to the Astros’ dugout. At least one player would decode the opposing team’s signs, and when the catcher issued a sign, the upcoming pitch would be relayed to the batter with a sound — most often the slamming of a baseball bat on a nearby trash can.
Mr. Manfred’s report said that most of the non-pitching players on the 2017 Astros team had participated in the cheating operation, and that many of those interviewed admitted they knew the scheme was wrong.
“Players stated that if Manager A.J. Hinch told them to stop engaging in the conduct, they would have immediately stopped,” the report said.
Mr. Manfred chose to punish Mr. Luhnow and Mr. Hinch, rather than the players, because of his previous warning in 2017 that senior team officials would be held accountable for electronic sign-stealing.
“It is difficult because virtually all of the Astros’ players had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme, and I am not in a position based on the investigative record to determine with any degree of certainty every player who should be held accountable, or their relative degree of culpability,” Mr. Manfred wrote.
Mr. Manfred’s report said that Mr. Hinch had disapproved of the scheme, and had twice damaged the monitor near the dugout in an attempt to thwart it, but that he did not tell his players or Mr. Cora to stop it. “Although I appreciate Hinch’s remorsefulness, I must hold him accountable for the conduct of his team, particularly since he had full knowledge of the conduct,” Mr. Manfred wrote.
Although Mr. Luhnow denied any knowledge of the schemes, the report cited “documentary and testimonial evidence that indicates Luhnow had some knowledge,” including at least two emails, of the sign-stealing efforts.
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